NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee Announces Changes For 2001 Championships To Accomodate ESPN2 Bro

By Randy L. | Jan. 09, 2001, 12 a.m. (ET)
INDIANAPOLIS--The NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee voted recently to change the time format of the 2001 Division I Wrestling Championships, allowing the championships to be broadcast on a same day, tape delay basis. ESPN2 will televise the 2001 championships at 6 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, March 17. The 2001 broadcast will mark the first time that the wrestling championships will be taped and then aired the same day that the tournament occurs. In previous years, the wrestling championships were taped and then broadcast late at night, usually several days after the championships were completed. By changing the start times of some of the sessions, a larger viewing audience will see the finals just a couple of hours after a champion is crowned. "This is something the wrestling community has been pushing for the past few years," said Dave Martin, chair of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee and senior associate athletic director at Oklahoma State University. "To get same day coverage on a major network during a prime time viewing slot is a major accomplishment for college wrestling and we're really excited about it." The championships, which consist of six sessions, will be held Thursday, March 15, through Saturday, March 17, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on the campus of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. Under the new time change, sessions three and four on March 16 will be moved up one hour from 11 a.m. to 10 a.m., and from 6:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., respectively. On March 17 session five will begin at 8 a.m. local time instead of 11 a.m. The final session of the championships will begin later that afternoon at 1 p.m. local time instead of 6:30 p.m. By moving the final session to 1 p.m., ESPN2 will have time to complete production of the championships and have it ready by 5 p.m. Central time that same evening. "It's not uncommon for sports television networks to have a short turnaround broadcast time with a same day, tape delay format for certain events, but this format is new to NCAA championships like wrestling," said Chris Farrow, NCAA assistant director of broadcast services. "This is a very unique situation in that it's almost like seeing it live and it's terrific for NCAA wrestling because it's a great time slot on a Saturday evening. We're hopeful this change will increase the ratings and at the same time increase fan interest in the sport." For more information about the Division I 2001 Wrestling Championships, log onto www.ncaawrestling.com.